x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Bollywood stars deliver an electric and eclectic evening

Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra provided the perfect Bollywood-flavoured treat for National Day.

Ahlan Bollywood started with a moderate delay at 9pm with a fashion show. Then came the first of the Bollywood performances, kicked off by the model and singer Sophie Choudhry. The Mera Babu Chail Chabila girl entertained the crowd with her energetic act and paved the way for the model and actress Zarine Khan, who performed to several songs including Surili Akhiyon Wale and Character Dheela. Next up was the Pakistani comedian Omar Shareef who provided comic relief with the sort of jokes that endear him to the desi crowds everywhere. With the crowd's funny bones sufficiently tickled, the Bollywood superstar Salman Khan made his grand entry.

Since this show was produced by Khan's brother Sohail, it was expected that Salman - who is riding high on the success of Ek Tha Tiger and is poised for the release of Dabangg 2 - would go all out to please the crowd, which he definitely did. In addition to performing some of his most popular songs, Khan also re-enacted short scenes and delivered lines he is best known for.

Priyanka Chopra, who has just delivered fabulously in the Oscar-nominated Barfi!, wowed the crowd with spirited performances to some of her most popular songs.

In between acts by the two superstars, the Pakistani qawwali singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan added a touch of class to the evening with soulful Bollywood songs, including O Re Piya and Bol Na Halke Halke. He also performed some famous songs by his late uncle, the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: Dam Mast Qalandar and Akhiyan Udeek Diyan.

The show went on well past 1am, with Salman Khan spending a surprisingamount of time on stage. This was a real treat for his UAE fans, who have waited seven years to see him perform again in the country. While this will go down as a memorable evening for thousands of Bollywood fans, it will forever be etched in the memory of one particular UAE resident: 20-year-old Sudhakshina Shivkumar. The winner of Shoe Mart's Dance Like a Star contest, Shivkumar got the opportunity to dance on stage alongside Khan and Chopra.